Local freight hauliers have boarded the new £30 million Wightlink hybrid ferry for the first time as the Victoria of Wight undergoes her first sea trials.
Two Isle of Wight transport companies drove articulated lorries to the lower vehicle deck at the Portsmouth terminal on Sunday afternoon.
Wightlink's Victoria of Wight arrived in the Solent on Friday after a 3,000 mile sailing from the Cemre shipyard in Turkey. Her first UK sea trials began on Sunday morning including a full speed run and several manoeuvring exercises. She also berthed successfully at both Fishbourne and Portsmouth ports.
Project Director John Burrows was on board for the sea trials:
"This was a very successful day. Victoria of Wight performed excellently and her crew was impressed with her speed and responsiveness. We also had our naval architects Houlder on board and everyone was impressed by how well she handled."
The 89.7 metre, 1208 passenger capacity MV Victoria of Wight is a hybrid ferry utilising both diesel and batteries for energy efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint. Battery packs smooth out power demands so that the engines can run at optimum efficiency, while power storage technology reduces the number of generators required for operation, reduces emissions and minimises operating noise.
The Victoria of Wight ferry will enter service later in the summer.